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Greece


I was fairly hopeful at the start with some nice traditional-sounding instruments and a beat but then it all went wrong. A sort of Greek rap intersperses with the chorus line. There's not a great deal going for this. It is about refugees, apparently, which may be a good move and get some sympathy votes from the politically see-me-I-am-correct types but I doubt if that'll be enough.

Greece usually do well with support from all quarters so they'll get some way up the board but whether this will get off the right hand side is not guaranteed. The video is not that attractive. See it here.

Malta

Malta is neither here nor there this year. With the We are invincible line the singer seems to be echoing the sort of lyrics from a few years back. Molly tried Power to the people a couple of years ago and didn't do terribly well and I suspect Malta will rather fall by the wayside this year. I usually back Malta and they have had some great entries but this is a bit average and, with so many similar entries this year will lose out to several others anyway. Ira is a great singer - maybe better than a lot this year, but that will not be enough. Since coming 2nd in 2005, Malta have failed to qualify in five years and, apart from one respectable 8th place, they've been placed 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Not looking good.

Czech Republic

A reasonably good song but it isn't inspirational and not particularly memorable either. I feel this will struggle to get anywhere. It is not helped by a totally pointless video which shows Gabriela singing I Stand but mostly lying down. It also doesn't exactly flatter her either in a pretty poorly produced affair generally. You can decide here.


Here are the better entries for the Second Semi Final, again in A -Z order. To be honest, only Malta really stands much chance of making that much of an impression but they're here anyway and, if you really really want to see what the other nine have to offer before they're forgotten completely then they're all available in lovely widescreen on Eurovision.tv. Edit a few days later: listening to Sweden again, that is one good performance and a definite contender to win.


Bosnia & Herzegovina

Always in the running, this is a serious but good track and well sung. It has a nice flute section but isn't really a winning entry - again.



Estonia

Another serious entry - there are a lot this year - by a talented singer. It's a classic Balkan-sounding number which will help get support from a good tranche of nations' voters. Good song. Stands an outside chance. Top 10 maybe.



Malta

This country has tried so hard in the past but never made it to the top. This year they have an Enrique Iglesias sound-a-like with a well-written song and plenty of hooks with its Hey Hey Hey and Yeah Yeah Yeah which I'm sure will go down well. Really quite catchy and a top 10 contender if not that much higher.




Netherlands

A quirky number, quite different from the rest which might get some attention. A girl, hopefully without the feathers that she wears in the video and slightly odd costume, playing a guitar, folky and simple. You'll smile if nothing else and think that it was quite nice. Reminds me a bit of the winning norway entry a while ago. It's not as good as that, though, and not a real winning contender but deserves a mention here.






Norway

Tooji is in the same vein as Malta'a entry this year but not as impressive so the votes will be split to Norway's disadvantage and this won't be bringing them another win. It's energetic, though, and a better looking bloke than Malta. It'll make the left side of the voting board but not a great deal more.



Serbia

Here's another scenic number from the country that is trying to regain a number 1 slot from a few years' ago and which usually gets high scores from all but one or two of its neighbours. It has lots of flavours and my son says it's pretty much a Coldplay number rehashed which I suppose isn't necessarily goingto to do any harm. Well-presented and stands a chance of breaking into the Top 10 too.



Slovenia

Conspicous by their absence, due to some pretty dull entries recently, this passionate and anthemic number might change that this year for them. I'm not that sure what to make of it but, if it's really well sung on the night and it builds well on the stage I can see it being popular.



Sweden

Always in with a chance with great songwriters and production people around, this heavy trance number will meet with young voters' approval. It needs atmosphere to work best and quite how it can be presented at its best on a stage remains to be seen. It's good, though, and could be a Top 5 entry if it goes right for the girl. Edit a few days later: I am now predicting this as a possible winner, after listening again. It is very very good indeed. 





Ukraine

I always feel that I have to mention Ukraine as they always seem to do well. Sometimes they definitely deserve it, other times they don't but they're the one old Soviet State that can be relied on the present us with a good-looking, dark haired girl with an almost perfect figure and lots of appeal for the guys out there. This one is another intense dance affair in true Eurovision style but it does lose its way half-way through and you start wondering just who is actually singing - the blonde or the black girls? I guess we'll find out on the night. Not a winner but they'll be competing and stealing votes from many of the other girls no doubt.



Next post will sweep up the remaining entries that are automatically through to the final - the countries that pay for it, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK, plus the Azerbaijan effort to win twice in a row.






After several years of quite serious ballads, many sung by the same person too, Malta has made an effort to modernise its entry for 2012. Some dj, two nerdy-looking guitarists and a couple of girls, one in sparkly pants playing drums standing up, possibly because the pants were too tight to sit down, add the youth background to the main guy, Kurt, who has probably been told to grow the beard to help with the image of Malta being ever-so-slightly young and rebellious this year. They got the ever-so-slightly bit right, I guess.

This is actually very straightforward stuff but it does have a catchy chorus with its yeah - ey - ey - ey- yeah bit which will no doubt get remembered by all those people in the voting lands more than some others so it ought to earn Malta a good number of mid-range points. Near the end you get the impression that the girl is going to join in and take some of the lead but she doesn't. It might have been better if she had, just for a bit of a change. In classic Eurovision style, this is instantly recognisable, you know where it's going and, apart from one odd stop and start, it's all pleasantly predictable.

Kurt will need to find a better fitting pair of trousers, though, on the night. Maybe he can borrow the drummer's.

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